Indulge in a vineyard platter. © Jeff McEwan

Indulge: food and drink in Wairarapa


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1. Mesita, Martinborough

Tucked away on a side street off Martinborough’s pleasingly symmetrical town square, you’ll find Mesita. A casual, Mexican-influenced wine bar, Mesita is run by a young couple and their old dog – Alice Bourdôt behind the bar, Hayden Gibbes in the kitchen and Sue, respectively. Order a glass of local wine and a taco pressed to order while giving the lovely Sue a scritch-scrotch behind the ears. 

Beautiful skies tonight over Mesita 💫

A post shared by M E S I T A (@mesita.winebar) on Apr 19, 2018 at 3:05am PDT

4. Schoc Chocolates, Greytown

In a tiny historic cottage on the outer edge of Greytown’s main street – the town’s original confectioners shop – is Schoc Chocolates in all it’s brown and orange branded glory. A boutique chocolatier, Schoc is regionally famous, with more than 80 interesting and inventive flavour combinations.

Think pink peppercorn, geranium, carrot and coriander and the slightly bizarre 'curry and pappadoms'.

Schoc was established in 2002 by Murray Langham, a former chef, qualified counsellor, author and now chocolatier who believes in the benefits of chocolate as therapy. Murray has appeared on TV to discuss the benefits of chocolate, both on the BBC and with Martha Stewart. 

2. Union Square at the Martinborough Hotel. 

Union Square is the recently opened restaurant in the historic Martinborough Hotel. Run by couple Nicola and Adam Newell formerly of the award-winning Zibbibo in Wellington, Union Square serves up casual but seriously impressive bistro fare. Unsurprising, considering that chef Adam has his very own Michelin star. The mushroom risotto is so good it was enough to win over my committed carnivore husband.

3. Don Luciano, Masterton

Part coffee roaster part café, Don Luciano in Masterton is a purveyor of great Mexican, Honduran and Central American style brunches. A bustling hub of activity on a weekend morning, you may want to arrive early to guarantee a seat. Set in the Art Deco Chilton building and run by Wairarapa hospitality stalwart Marvin Guerrero (formerly Maître D of the famous Saluté in Greytown), Don Luciano is a vibrant and popular addition to the Masterton café scene. Named for Marvin's grandfather – Don Luciano, a Honduran coffee farmer – the café is also home to Gracias Coffee and you can pick up a freshly roasted bag to take home with you. 

5. Wine, Martinborough

And let’s not forget about wine – one of the main reasons that many people visit the Wairarapa region in the first place.

Martinborough is famous for stellar pinot noir and robust chardonnay from the likes of iconic vineyards Palliser Estate, Ata Rangi, Escarpment and Ngā Waka.

Visit during November to experience the annual Toast Martinborough festival. During the rest of the year, if you’re feeling a little overwhelmed by the vinous abundance, or if your visit falls outside cellar door hours, stop in at Martinborough Wine Merchants to whet your whistle and make a plan for further vineyard exploration under the expert guidance of the staff there. 

#nzwine #martinborough #wairarapa

A post shared by Wairarapa (@wairarapa) on May 27, 2013 at 7:32pm PDT

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